8 Awesome Websites to Find and Download Chinese E-books
E-books have much to offer all Chinese language learners.
Whether you’re a reader who loves the feeling of pages beneath your fingers or someone who has only read from a screen since e-readers came out.
So if you haven’t used e-books yet to boost your Chinese reading skills, listen up.
In this post, we’ll go over 8 websites you can use to find the best Chinese e-books.
- 1. Weibo Books
- 2. QiDian Books
- 3. Amazon Kindle
- 4. Loyal Books
- 5. Haodoo
- 6. 24 Reader
- 7. Project Gutenberg
- 8. Kobo
- Why Should I Use Chinese E-books to Improve My Chinese?
- And One More Thing...
1. Weibo Books
Weibo Books offers an excellent selection of world-renowned publications that have been translated into Chinese, as well as original Chinese e-books.
Interesting categories on their site include novels for boys, novels for girls, boutique channel, leaderboard and more.
When you click into any book, you’ll see an overview page with book summary and readers’ ratings.
Click 放入书架 (fàng rù shū jià) to add it to your library (this requires a Weibo account, but it’s free to sign up for one), or click 立即阅读 (lì jí yuè dú) to start reading it online.
Interesting stats are provided for every book, including: 浏览 (líu lǎn), the number of people who’ve browsed this book; 赞 (zàn), the number who’ve liked it; and 热议 (rè yì), the number who’ve commented.
- “一生陪你做公主 (yī shēng péi nǐ zùo gōng zhǔ — By Your Side, Princess)” by Huang Jia Qian — A real-life tale of “tiger” parenting, written by actress Phoebe Huang (Huang Jia Qian) along with her husband Christopher Downs, a Chinese-speaking TV host from Canada.
- “知更鸟女孩 (zhī gēng niǎo nǚ hái — Mockingbird)” by Chuck Wendig — An orphan girl can foresee who will die in the near future. She keeps a “death list” in a notebook and wanders the city in search of those whose time is coming up.
2. QiDian Books
QiDian Books offers a massive selection of online e-books. Unlike Weibo Books, not all of these are published offline.
Check out their featured categories for bestsellers 畅销榜 (chàng xiāo bǎng), popular works 热门作品 (rèm én zuò pǐn), new book recommendations 新书推荐 (xīn shū tuī jiàn) and more.
Click into any book to see 内容介绍 (nèi róng jiè shào), a synopsis. You can get e-book versions for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows and HTML5.
3. Amazon Kindle
Amazon offers a selection of Chinese e-books through Kindle. With a Kindle app, you can read e-books on any device.
If you know how to use Amazon, you know how to use Kindle. The Kindle storefront follows the same Amazon format, allowing you to look up titles and browse categories.
There’s a foreign language category where you might find a few good titles. But to browse entirely Chinese books, use the Kindle中文电子书店 (Kindle Chinese e-bookstore) with this link.
- “福尔摩斯探案 (fú er mó sī tàn àn — Sherlock Holmes)” by Conan Doyle — Here’s the classic series about genius detective Sherlock Holmes.
4. Loyal Books
Loyal Books is a free online library. To find their Chinese e-books, scroll down to see “Languages” listed in the left-hand menu, and then select “Chinese.”
Select “e-books” as a filter under the top drop-down menu.
Their selection is small, but all of their e-books are free. You can also stream audio versions of books.
- “唐诗三百首 (táng shī sān bǎi shǒu — 300 Tang Poems)” by Various — Chinese poetry is famous for brevity and beauty. Every Chinese student studies ancient poetry in school, so why not try reading some yourself?
- “论语 (lùn yǔ — Confucius’ Analects)” by Confucius — Confucius formed the bedrock of traditional Chinese philosophy. Reading his Analects introduces you to the background of Chinese thought.
The name of the site 好读 (hǎo dú) means “Good Reads.”
Here, you’ll find several categories of online novels:
- 言情小说 (yán qíng xiǎo shūo) — romantic fiction
- 奇幻小说 (qí huàn xiǎo shūo) — science fiction
- 武侠小说 (wǔ xiá xiǎo shūo) — martial arts fiction
- 悬疑小说 (xuán yí xiǎo shūo) — suspense fiction
Other e-book categories include 世纪百强 (shì jì bǎi jiàng qiáng) — world classics and 隨身智囊 (súi shēn zhì náng) — practical wisdom.
All e-books are free to download. In addition to e-books, you can read web articles under 好读专栏 (hǎo dú zhuān lán) — good reads columns.
- “半生缘 (bàn shēng yuán — Love Story of Half a Lifetime)” by Eileen Chang — Chang is the author of “Lust, Caution” and other famous works. This story speaks of two young lovers who, due to trials and family disapproval, broke up their engagement, only to meet again years later.
- “唐人街 (táng rén jiē — Chinatown” by Shuo Ming — Perhaps the earliest book written on the Chinese-American immigrant experience. A man from Fujian province arrives on the American west coast to pan for gold. He opens a small laundry shop, together with the help of his wife and two children.
6. 24 Reader
24 Reader offers a very extensive collection of Chinese e-books written by Chinese authors (not merely translations of English books).
Categories of interest include:
- 商业 (shāng yè) — business
- 文学 (wén xué) — arts
- 亲子 (qīn zǐ) — family
- 心理 (xīn lǐ) — psychology
- 教育 (jiào yù) — education
- 男士 (nán shì) — men’s interests
- 女士 (nǚ shì) — women’s interests
- 生活 (shēng húo) — lifestyle
- 科技 (kē jì) — technology
- 历史 (lì shǐ) — history
- 保健 (bǎo jiàn) — health
- 小说/漫 (xiǎo shūo màn) — novels/graphic novels
When you click into any book, detailed information is listed, including where the book is originally from, 来源地 (lái yuán dì)—for example, Hong Kong 香港 (xiāng gǎng)—and the language—for example, 繁體中文 (fán tǐ zhōng wén), which is traditional Chinese.
The section 内容简介 (nèi róng jiǎn jiè) gives a brief introduction of the book, and 作者简介 (zuò zhě jiǎn jiè) gives an introduction of the author.
If you like the book, go ahead and click the big green button that says 立即购买 (lì jí gòu mǎi) to “Buy Now.”
- “未來中國10大创富产业 (wèi lái zhōng gúo 10 dà chuāng fù chǎn yè — 10 Future Booming Industries in China)” by Huang Bin Yuan — Introducing 10 industries in China forecasted to have strong financial growth. A guide book for investors interested in the Chinese market.
- “時裝．有品 (shí zhuāng yǒu pǐn — Fashion Is Cool” by David Yeung — Fashion designer David Yeung has taught fashion for over 12 years. In this book he shares Hong Kong-based fashion design theory. (Bonus: This book is in Chinese and English, and features interviews of both Chinese and Western designers.)
7. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg has a small selection of Chinese e-books.
To find them, search “Chinese” from the homepage.
All e-books are free to download in HTML, EPUB, Kindle and Plain Text formats. Files can also be directly downloaded to your Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive account.
- “西遊記 (xī yóu jì — Journey to the West)” by Cheng’en Wu — Every Chinese child knows the tale of the monkey king and his band of followers who travel west in search of Buddhist texts. A must-read for students of Chinese culture.
- “狂人日記 (kuáng rén rì jì — Diary of a Madman)” by Xun Lu — A critique of Chinese culture by one of the most famous modern writers from China.
Kobo is a good place to find Chinese textbooks in e-book format. Their selection is not huge, but there are still many useful titles, especially resources for Chinese students.
To find them, change the language from English to 中文 (zhōng wén) in the upper right hand menu.
When you click into any title, you’ll get a synopsis and details about the book, such as the number of pages, time it takes to read and word count. You can then click to purchase.
- “The Sixty Year Dream: Mandarin Companion Graded Readers: Level 1, Traditional Chinese Edition” by Washington Irving — This story is written in simple style, and is suitable for upper beginner learners.
- “McGraw-Hill’s Classic Chinese Reader” by Huan Xiong — This Chinese reader lets you learn new vocabulary while enhancing your reading skills. You’ll read snippets from Chinese literature like poetry, folklore, classic novels, modern dramas and more.
Why Should I Use Chinese E-books to Improve My Chinese?
Here’s what makes e-books a great tool for Chinese learners:
- They’re affordable. Many free e-books are available online, and most of those that are not free are still very inexpensive compared to hard copy books. Many public libraries even have digital libraries now, where you can check out e-books for a period of time for free, just as you would with a hard copy.
- They’re convenient. You can take your books with you anywhere—on an e-reader, laptop or even smartphone—and read while you commute. Highlight unknown words to copy and paste them into online dictionaries, or copy and paste new words and phrases into a notebook app like Evernote or Apple’s Notes.
- They provide in-context learning. Regular reading practice reviews words you already know, helping to ingrain them in your memory. Reading also pushes you to learn new words, idioms and expressions in context, which is more memorable than studying from plain lists. Additionally, e-books can be published faster than paper books, which lets you stay up to date with your favorite reads.
- They work well with other context-heavy resources like FluentU.
- They get you familiar with written forms. Reading will teach you written Chinese, which is more formal than spoken and conversational Chinese. The newest e-books demonstrate written forms that are most popular today. Seeing the written forms will also teach you sentence flow and structure, helping you internalize grammar.
Better yet, if you get hooked on an e-book series—like a romance or martial arts epic—you’ll keep coming back for more, building an excellent habit of reading Chinese.
I hope you’ll have fun finding interesting e-books on these sites!
And don’t forget: A little reading every day goes a long way in improving your Chinese.
And One More Thing...
If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.